Redistricting

How might we draw independent election district maps?

Ample procedures are presently in place that should be studied. A fair and thoughtful plan can be worked out, one which removes the stain of direct political party influence.

Nine states have an independent, non-partisan commissions to draw district boundaries: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Washington. Thirteen states have some sort of hybrid method.

Maine and Vermont use advisory committees for redistricting. Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas use backup redistricting commissions, if efforts at redistricting via their usual legislative process fail.

In 2008 California voters approved Proposition 11 amending the state’s constitution creating a bi-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission composed of non-office-holding citizens.

Iowa conducts redistricting via a non-partisan legislative staff and 5-person advisory commission that develops maps for the Iowa House and Senate, as well as U.S. House districts, without any political or election data (including the addresses of incumbents).

In 37 states, congressional redistricting is the province of the state legislatures. In four states, independent commissions are responsible for congressional redistricting. In two states, the task falls to politician commissions. The remaining seven states contain one congressional district each, rendering congressional redistricting unnecessary. Check out the maps.

Redistricting methods by state after the 2010 census. Legislatures control redistricting in states marked grey, while commissions control redistricting in states marked green. In states marked orange, non-partisan staff proposes the maps, but the state legislature votes on the proposal. States marked purple have only one Congressional district.